It’s officially 2017 and devoted runners are plotting out their race calendar for the coming year.  Runners spend hours dwelling about which races fit their schedule, and dreaming about bucket list events like Boston, Big Sur or the Blue Ridge Marathon.  When selecting spring marathons you also have to battle that nagging nay-sayer in the back of your head asking if you really want to spend your weekends on a long run in the dark…in freezing rain…in the middle of January. 

Below are lazy-bashing tips to help you tackle winter running and prepare for events like the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon, Half & Anthem Star 10k which takes place April 22, 2017. 

  1. Make a Plan & Stick to It (sort of):  When it’s yucky out, it can be really easy to go get donuts with your friends instead of sticking to your workout plan.  Find a training program that is realistic for the amount of time you have until race day and your current fitness level, and get it done no excuses.  The “sort of” part comes in when you miss a day.  Don’t panic!  If it’s freezing rain outside do your Plan B (see below) and call it good.  The routine of doing SOMETHING is better than just totally skipping.
  2. Have a Plan B:  Getting your heartrate up to that critical zone of 125-145 bpm is a suitable replacement for some of your training runs.  Cross country skiing, cycling, an elliptical or even Zumba are all appropriate replacements.  Just make sure to pound the pavement two days a week minimum.  Check the weather at the beginning of each week to plan your long days, and which days you can brave the elements.
  3. Have Appropriate Gear:  Reflective safety gear, ear warmers, soft shell gloves, neck gaiters, tights, quick dry socks (in case they get wet), NO COTTON ANYWHERE and extra tread on your shoes will make all the difference in the world when it’s cold outside.  That being said, never run when it’s icy out and keep exposure to extreme weather to less than 45 minutes.
  4. Set a Mini Goal:  Nothing holds you accountable quite like a looming race.  Choose a Frozen Toe 5k during the coldest months and a 10k or half in early March to keep your training on track.
  5. Vitamin D & Staying Healthy:  During cold and flu season it can be tricky to stay healthy. Add running in freezing temperatures for long periods of time and it can be truly hazardous (think pneumonia).  Taking supplements like Vitamin D or Cod Liver Oil can be beneficial.  Also just because its cold doesn’t mean you reduce your fluid intake.  A good rule of thumb is three to six ounces every 15-20 minutes.

Need a little extra motivation?  Check out our virtual training programs with interactive coaching and a private social media group to keep you on track.